Saturday 5 February 2011

Bag Bragging!

I'm sorry I missed yesterday's link parties, but as I wasn't feeling very well, I decided that sleep was more important than blogging.  I'm sure you all understand.  To make up for the lack of fibre, I can share a new project with you, that I mentioned on Wednesday.  On Thursday I finally got a smidgen of daylight to take some photos of my latest sewing project.  I'm so proud of this project I could burst.  In order to avoid unnecessary explosions I will tell you all about it.  As you might guess from the blog title, it is a bag.  But it is not just a bag, oh no, this is glorious rendition of bounteous bagness in PURPLE VELVET!

My gorgeous bag was made using the Oversized Fashionista Bag Pattern from Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible.  I have raved about this book before, and having actually followed a pattern now, I can confirm that this book is pure gold and I know I will make more patterns from it in the future.  This book has really pushed me outside my comfort zone with this pattern.  I never thought in a million years I would make a bag like this - but I have.  It may have taken over a month, but I did it.  It took over a month because it uses things like hammers and pliers and I need plenty of recovery time between those kind of sessions.  But it is using hardware that transforms an homemade bag into an handcrafted one.

As you can see, this bag has two handles.  The first one that is clipped to the top of the bag, has plastic hose inside it, to give strength and comfort.  I never would have tried that without the great step by step instructions given in the book.  Now I made it once I will try it again.  I've also become quite handy with a hammer and eyelets.  They have taken me a while to get my head round them, but now I'm pretty happy using them and they really are worth the trouble of getting to know them.  They make the bag look really polished, especially when teamed with the funky bag clips.

The second bag handle is made using fabric and chain.  This is where the pliers came in.  I had to open up the chain links and then close them back up again to link in to the D-rings at the ends of the fabric part of this longer strap.

I think the chain and the adjustments I made was the most tiring part of this bag.  The first time I applied the chain, I left the lengths too long and the bag hung down by my knees.  I really didn't want to fix it but, knew if I didn't I would regret it.  Now I can carry this bag messenger style across my body.  I need to be able to carry my bags this way, as I need one hand for my walking stick and the other for doors, shopping bags etc.  I still love the pipe filled handle though.  It is great for picking the bag up and carrying it short distances and it just about fits over my shoulder too.  This bag has the best of both worlds.

I also really like the twist lock on the front of the bag.  I think having this type of closure is much more secure than a magnetic closure.  Plus it is very shiny!  This made it difficult to take a head on photograph as the shots were dazzling!

The twist lock also highlights the lovely scalloped front edge of the bag flap.  It looks so swanky.

I didn't take any photos of inside the bag, because I ran out of light.  I used dress lining fabric in a matching colour, for the inside of the bag.  It feels so silky and decadent inside the bag.  I hope it doesn't snag too easily though.  There is also an inner zipper pocket which is a really good size.  Because I've used quite delicate lining fabric I'm not going to load that pocket up too much, but it is big enough to take a purse and keys very easily.  I'm only going to use it for keys though.

This bag is easily big enough for lots of handbag junk, and I have a lot as I carry around all my medications etc that I could possibly need.  It also has space for me to carry around my small knitting project bag, with sock yarn inside, AND a book.  I cannot get over how big this bag is without looking huge.  The photo below shows the bag containing all of the listed items.  You'd never know would you?

I think the bag doesn't look bulky because it is quite shallow.  It means that the bag sits flat against the body.

When I finished the bag I decided that the large purple expanse of the bag was a little dark.  Whilst it looked amazing, I wanted to add something extra to contrast with the fabulous fabric.

To make my contrast I used perle embroidery threads that have the appearance of silk.  I used a small crochet hook and crocheted around two different sized plastic curtain rings.  If anyone is interested I took some photos of the procedure.  Let me know if I should make a tutorial of how to make these rings. Once I had made all the rings and found an attractive layout, I attached the rings to the bag using transparent sewing thread.

You only see the transparent thread from close up, like this macro shot.  I was really pleased that the smaller curtain rings sat so neatly inside the larger ones.  Placing the smaller ring inside the larger ones gives greater depth and variety to the decoration of the bag.

So in review, as you might have guessed, I LOVE this bag.  It is definitely the best bag I have made.  Thank you Lisa Lam, you are a bag designing genius and your tutorials are some of the best I've come across.  In fact it is down to Lisa and the the yummy things she sells, that I kept challenging and pushing myself to learn new techniques in sewing.  Without her website and tutorials I would probably be only sewing quilts and nothing else.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!  In the meantime I find myself flicking through the book and glancing at my fabric stash.


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